The Toronto Maple Leafs cannot possibly think they can win a Stanley Cup with their current blue-line.
In fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs summer plans were extremely confusing for anyone who saw Jake McCabe play against Florida last spring.
The Leafs got a new GM, let their two toughest defenders walk (Justin Holl and Luke Schenn) and replaced them with John Klingberg, a player who is a) not tough at all b) in decline c) three or four years removed from being a good top four player.
They then inserted him into their top four, and didn’t bother to add any toughness or depth at all for the rest of the summer.
It was – to say the least – a confusing move.
The Leafs depth, such as it is, consists of Connor Timmins a 25 year-old extreme longshot to ever become an NHL regular, and Simon Benoit, arguably the single worst player in the NHL last season.
To make matters worse, five of the Toronto Maple Leafs six regular defenders are over 30, and one is the over 40 and happens to be the NHL’s oldest player.
And he happens to also be coming off an absolutely terrible playoff performance.
The Leafs best defender is Morgan Rielly, a 30 year-old former elite player who is still very good but who pretty much no one would consider to be a top 20 defenseman in the NHL.
And it’s extremely hard, if not impossible, to win without one of the 20 best defenseman in the world on your roster.
The Leafs blue-line has no elite players and very little depth. They also lack players with upside.
So clearly, a trade is in order. (All stats naturalstattrick.com).
Will the Leafs package young players and picks for a defenseman, or will they move their chips into the middle and trade William Nylander for an elite defender who can perhaps put them over the top?
Here is a list of ten defenseman the Leafs could pursue.